In “hope without compromise” Jefferson Vann explains how the treatment of leprosy under the Mosaic covenant prefigured both God’s present hope for the lost, and his future destruction of the unrepentant.
Leviticus 13:45-52 (JDV)
Lev 13:45 “The leprous person who has the disease will wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he will cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘contaminated, contaminated.’
Lev 13:46 He will stay contaminated as long as he has the disease. He is contaminated. He will stay alone. His dwelling will be outside the camp.
Lev 13:47 “When there is a case of leprous disease in clothes, whether woollen or linen clothes,
Lev 13:48 in warp or woof of linen or wool, or in a skin or in anything made of skin,
Lev 13:49 if the disease is greenish or reddish in the clothes, or in the skin or in the warp or the woof or in any container made of skin, it is a case of leprous disease, and it will be shown to the priest.
Lev 13:50 And the priest will examine the disease and shut up that which has the disease for seven days.
Lev 13:51 Then he will examine the disease on the seventh day. If the disease has spread in the clothes, in the warp or the woof, or in the skin, whatever be the use of the skin, the disease is a persistent leprous disease; it is contaminated.
Lev 13:52 And he will burn the clothes, or the warp or the woof, the wool or the linen, or any container made of skin that is diseased, because it is a persistent leprous disease. It will be burned in the fire.
hope without compromise
Because leprosy had been chosen by God to symbolize the horrible reality of sin and its effects, any clothing found to be persistently contaminated with the disease was to be burned up, consumed by fire. This is the exact judgement that God himself has reserved for sinners.
Yet, God did not command his people to execute that judgement upon those who had leprosy. There was hope for any person who had leprosy to be healed of the disease, and restored to the camp. So, God commanded the priests who had diagnosed a person with leprosy to send that person outside the camp to dwell. This command showed God’s grace toward those infected with leprosy, and implied God’s grace toward those presently infected with sin. Because God is a God of grace, there is hope for the lost. But because God is a God of holiness, there will be no eternal compromise with sin. The fire of Gehenna hell consumes utterly. Sinner, turn to the God of grace in repentance before he comes to judge your sin.
LORD, show us how to proclaim your gospel of grace without denying your condemnation of sin.